Sunday, May 22, 2016

Op Session 6

Our 6th Operations Session took place yesterday (May 21) and we once again completed a full freight schedule. We were a bit rusty (my part-time tax prep job interferes with scheduling op sessions for about 6 months) but we will get back into the swing of things.

My wife wanted to know what we were laughing about in the loft for 4 hours, so it was a good time together. We were missing a key player (Gene) but we muddled happily along to completion.

The demerit list will be completed when I find the yard bum that knocked the coaling tower off its foundations and derailed all 4 of the steam engines parked under it.

Never knew yard work was such fun!

A PC Geep on a 1950s PRSL layout

Where did you say you last saw that train?
Hmm, pushing 2 tank cars and a cabin into an icing facility? Careful!
Rogue GP40 in staging

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Hiding the Edges

When the majority of your layout consists of 18” modules, you have “Edge Problems”.

A row of bushes helped, but it needed more. The South Philly viaduct really should have a refinery scene behind it but I got tired of viewing long tracks with nothing but “sky” behind them so I added some hills/mountains by taking 1/8’ masonite, painting it dark green, and adding mixes of Woodland Scenices extra course turf, course turf, and a grass blend to it while the paint was still wet. Hairspray and addition “turfs” were added in the second phase. At least now it takes the eye somewhat away from the wall. I still need to hide the viaduct seams with some vine growth.

I repeated the process in North Woodbury and South Westville to add depth to the scenes and hide tree shadows from appearing on the walls during photography.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Another 6 Weeks and I Can Goof Off Again!

It’s tax season and I work for a large tax prep firm. Our office is 2 people short and I’ve been working more hours than I have in 5 years and I am a bit tired. I have a 3 day weekend and am enjoying it. Just 6 more weeks to go!

Went to a “train show” a few weeks back. To me it is a fraud to call something a train show and have only 2 minimal railroads set up. It was a swap meet. Why not call it that, so people know what they are going to? It is especially irritating that it was sponsored by a modular group and used their name. I expected to see their nice layout set up but nary a module. Grrrr!

On a much better note, half of my operating crew showed up and did a ton of work on the layout. Big thanks to Gene and Mario!

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Blizzard of ’16 & the (Re-Modeled) Glassboro Train Station

The Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines Historical Society got a tour offer from the recently preserved Glassboro PRSL train station. Unfortunately, since the Northeast Blizzard of ’16 was about to take place (current forecast of 18”-24” and 45-65 mph wind gusts) kept the attendance down to about 6 people. Since I live less than 5 miles away and the flurries had just begun I got to briefly attend. Attached are some bad photos (I forgot I had left the camera settings for close-up model train picture taking [Av: depth of field]).

The station was originally built in the 1860s (think Abraham Lincoln) making it one of the oldest historical buildings in Glassboro, NJ. Reading some of the on-line sites listed below, it appears the project is approaching 15 years and has consumed grants of $1.3M. Much of the money went to fight off the termites and vandals (hence all new plumbing and electrical). CSA (Conrail Shared Assets) still operates the (down to a single) track and the evening would include a fast freight run by (which came 40 minutes early). The building was restored to its 1950s appearance.

Many historical items and pictures line the facility and current displays include Rich Drobil’s HO PRSL model railroad (and a generic Lionel layout). Also present was a G scale (BIG!) model of an RDC (Rail Diesel Car), 12 of which used to handle the bulk of the passenger traffic on the PRSL.

P.S. The ride home 45 minutes later was challenging!

Rich Drobil's HO PRSL

G Scale RDC

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Our area is about to set a record for Christmas Eve of 76-78 degrees. Fortunately I model the PRSL in the early 1950s so I can get away with the following picture of my N scale folks trying to get home for Christmas in my Philadelphia 30th Street Station module during a snow shower.

Just remember the Reason for the season!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Gateway Model Railroad Club – Open House December 19, 2015

My September 12, 2011 blog detailed my involvement with the Gateway Model Railroad club in its formative years and I recently saw an open house notice for them while picking up some glue at a local hobby shop. So I figured I would stop by and see how they have progressed in the last few decades. It appears they have totally redone the layout since my last visit. It is now multiple decks and pretty much fills the first story of their building.

When you enter you see a picture of Ed Evans, their founder and my favorite Sunday School teacher. My 2011 blog details the impact he had on his often out of control Sunday School class. It is men like him that left their mark for good on the generation that followed them. I will always be grateful for having had the opportunity to know him and be molded by him.

The club has some excellent builders who have populated the layout with magnificent structures, many with detailed interiors. I don’t understand why they kept the room so dark, as I would like to have seen the buildings in better light. (It was also strange to see an elderly operator controlling the trains with a medical facemask.) As I highlighted in previous open house blogs, I think when you have an open house you need some roving ambassadors to engage the public in the joys of model railroading.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Small Projects

Lost in the November Open House were a string of small projects.

First I lengthened the sky backdrop behind the roundhouse so I don’t have to look at mauve wall paint framing the turntable.
A second Reading I10 consol joins the Pennsy K4 & B6

Lighting projects in downtown Camden, North Woodbury and Woodbury.

Bricked the upper track support behind the tower at the yard leads.

South Woodbury Yard

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Inspiration Month 2015 - November 14th part III

I saved my commentary on model railroad open houses for last. I hope you have enjoyed the previous pictures as much as I did. Now for the critical part: What is the purpose of the Model Railroad November Open House program? I thought it was to introduce the hobby and inspire new modelers. That is what I felt for most of the visits, but 2 of the 8 tours left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I'll use my last 2 stops to show the contrast. Stop #7 was to a first time open houser, Jack Moore and his son Richard. His layout seemed about 50% completed. That usually doesn't put a layout in my "worth the time" category but the difference was in the open welcome and enthusiasm for the hobby that Jack and Richard oozed. We had a very pleasant time talking the hobby, his equipment, and his backdrops. I left feeling good about the hobby and model railroaders.

Jack Moore - the backdrop on the far right is a panoramic shot he took under one of the local Delaware River bridges.
I should have quit there but I had plenty of time left and figured I would travel about a half hour (actually ended up taking 80 minutes [mall Christmas shopping this early in November? #$%]). The travel was exasperated by getting behind a 270Z determined to go 10 mph under the speed limit on a single lane, no passing road for 15 miles. (Oh my! What a waste to give a car like that to a pokey woman!!!) (Ladies, please forgive my outburst.)

I had been to this layout 2 years before and had left with a bad taste in my mouth and the situation was repeated. It was a very nice layout but you couldn't get to see anything without crawling over the 5-6 operators who were bunched up together jabbering with each other and blocking the aisles. I was the only visitor and no one ever said a word to me. Is the purpose just to show off your work or to inspire potentially new model railroaders. I guess I should just be happy that 5 of the 8 visits were enjoyable (plus 1 neutral).

Bottom line is: it is a great hobby because of the great people you meet. I thank the good Lord for my operating crew and hobby friends. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!